Some Background On The EMT 140 Plate Reverb.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb is a legendary piece of audio equipment that has played a significant role in the history of music production. Here’s a brief history of the EMT 140 Plate Reverb:

  1. Development and Introduction (1957): The EMT 140 Plate Reverb was developed by Elektro-Mess-Technik (EMT), a German company known for their high-quality audio equipment. The EMT 140 was introduced in 1957 as a solution to the need for a more versatile and controllable reverb effect in recording studios.
  2. Plate Reverb Technology: The EMT 140 Plate Reverb utilized a large, thin sheet of metal (typically made of steel or aluminum) as the reverb-generating element. A transducer at one end would send an audio signal into the plate, and the vibrations in the plate created the reverb effect. A pickup transducer at the other end captured the reflections, which were then blended with the dry signal to create the final reverb effect.
  3. Sound Quality and Character: The EMT 140 quickly gained popularity for its warm, lush, and smooth reverb sound. It had a distinctive character that made it a preferred choice for many recording engineers, producers, and artists. The plate reverb sound was especially prized for vocals and orchestral recordings, adding a rich and natural ambiance to the audio.
  4. Versatility: The EMT 140 offered various control parameters, including decay time, damping, and input level, allowing engineers to shape the reverb to suit different musical genres and preferences.
  5. Use in Iconic Recordings: The EMT 140 Plate Reverb became a staple in numerous classic recordings across various genres. Its use can be heard in the music of artists such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Elvis Presley, and many more. It contributed to the distinct sound of these recordings.
  6. Challenges of Plate Reverb: Despite its remarkable sound, the EMT 140 had some limitations. It was a massive and heavy piece of equipment, making it impractical for many smaller studios. Maintenance was also a significant factor, as keeping the plate in optimal condition required skilled technicians.
  7. Legacy and Influence: The EMT 140 Plate Reverb left a lasting legacy in the world of audio production. Its warm and timeless sound quality has made it a sought-after reverb effect. It has influenced the design of subsequent reverb units and plugins, and its sound continues to be emulated in modern digital reverb processors.
  8. Discontinuation and Vintage Market: EMT eventually discontinued the production of the EMT 140 Plate Reverb. Vintage EMT 140 units have become collector’s items, and they are still used and cherished in studios worldwide, both for their unique sound and the nostalgia associated with classic recordings.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb remains a revered piece of equipment, emblematic of a golden era in audio recording technology. Its timeless sound and influence can still be heard in contemporary music production, ensuring its place in the annals of audio history.

Studios Featuring The EMT 140.

  1. Abbey Road Studios (London, UK): Abbey Road Studios is famous for its iconic EMT 140 Plate Reverbs, which have been used on numerous classic recordings.
  2. Sunset Sound (Los Angeles, USA): Sunset Sound in Hollywood has been a hub for many legendary recordings, and they have historically had EMT 140 Plate Reverbs in their collection.
  3. Electric Lady Studios (New York City, USA): Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios has housed EMT 140 Plate Reverbs, contributing to its historical significance.
  4. Ocean Way Recording (Los Angeles and Nashville, USA): Ocean Way Recording, now United Recording, is another studio that has historically featured EMT 140 Plate Reverbs.
  5. RCA Studio B (Nashville, USA): This historic studio in Nashville, Tennessee, used EMT 140 Plate Reverbs extensively for recording country and rock music legends.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb In Use.

As I gingerly push open the studio door at Sunset Sound, I can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation. Before me stands the vintage EMT 140 Plate Reverb, an iconic piece of equipment that has graced the studios of countless music legends. This particular model is well-maintained, its brushed steel faceplate gleaming like a classic automobile. As I approach, I can’t help but admire its timeless design.

Gently caressing the controls, I am immediately drawn into a world of auditory wonder. The EMT 140’s sonic charm is unmistakable, and it’s a testament to the enduring legacy of analog technology. As I run my fingers over the decay time knob, I can’t help but feel a sense of reverence. This piece of equipment has been instrumental in crafting some of the most revered recordings in music history.

I decide to put the EMT 140 through its paces, starting with a pristine vocal track. As I push up the fader and engage the plate reverb, the magic unfolds. The sound takes on a depth and dimension that is nothing short of enchanting. The reverb tail is smooth, warm, and seems to stretch on forever, like the echo of a memory that lingers long after the moment has passed. It complements the vocals with an air of sophistication, a sense of timelessness that transcends eras and genres.

I can’t resist the urge to try it on other instruments. I feed a guitar through the EMT 140, and the transformation is remarkable. The strings come to life with a resonance that evokes the warmth of a cozy, well-attended concert hall. It’s as if the EMT 140 has the power to transport the listener to a different acoustic space, one filled with nostalgia and a touch of old-world charm.

What sets the EMT 140 apart is its ability to be both subtle and bold, understated and pronounced. It’s a versatile reverb that adapts to the needs of the music, allowing me to shape the character of the sound with its damping control and pre-delay settings. This adaptability is a testament to its enduring relevance in a constantly evolving audio landscape.

As the session draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the EMT 140 Plate Reverb’s remarkable legacy. It’s not just a piece of equipment; it’s a portal to the past, a guardian of sonic authenticity. In a world where digital technology continues to advance, the EMT 140 remains a timeless reminder of the analog era’s unparalleled artistry. It’s a sonic gem that continues to inspire and captivate, reminding us that some things only get better with age.


Feeatures And Specs Of The EMT 140 Plate Reverb.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb is a legendary analog reverb device known for its lush and classic sound. Here are its key features and specifications:


  1. Plate Design: The EMT 140 Plate is a mechanical reverb device that uses a large, thin metal plate as the sound-processing medium. Audio signals are sent to this plate, which vibrates in response to the sound and creates reverb through a transducer pickup.
  2. Reverb Time Control: The EMT 140 typically has a reverb time control, which allows you to adjust the decay time of the reverb effect. This control lets you choose between shorter and longer reverb tails, making it versatile for various applications.
  3. Input and Output Controls: The unit usually features input and output level controls, which enable you to set the signal’s strength and adjust the wet-to-dry balance of the reverb effect.
  4. Pre-delay Control: Some models may include a pre-delay control, allowing you to set a small delay before the reverb onset. This can add depth and spaciousness to the sound.
  5. Stereo Operation: Many EMT 140 Plate units are designed for stereo operation, providing a stereo reverb effect that’s ideal for enhancing stereo recordings and mixes.
  6. Balanced I/O: The EMT 140 typically offers balanced XLR inputs and outputs for professional connectivity and to maintain audio quality.
  7. Remote Control Options: Some EMT 140 models can be controlled remotely via external units, making it easier to integrate into studio setups.
  8. Vintage Character: One of the most significant features of the EMT 140 is its unique and vintage sound character. It imparts a warm and rich reverb quality that has made it a classic choice for countless recordings.


  1. Reverb Type: Mechanical plate reverb.
  2. Plate Dimensions: The plate itself is a significant part of the EMT 140’s character. It is typically a large metal plate, and its size and material influence the reverb’s sound.
  3. Reverb Time Range: The reverb time control usually provides a range of decay times, which can vary from short and subtle to long and lush. The specific reverb time range can vary depending on the model.
  4. Input/Output Impedance: The input and output impedance of the EMT 140 may vary between models, and it’s essential for compatibility with other audio equipment.
  5. Power Requirements: The EMT 140 usually operates on standard AC power. Voltage requirements can vary depending on the unit’s origin and version.
  6. Dimensions and Weight: The physical dimensions and weight of the EMT 140 Plate unit may vary between models and versions.
  7. Maintenance: Vintage EMT 140 units often require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function correctly. This may involve cleaning, tuning the plate, and replacing parts as needed.

Please note that while the EMT 140 Plate Reverb is renowned for its classic sound, there may be variations in features and specifications between different models and versions. If you are considering purchasing or using an EMT 140, it’s advisable to refer to the specific product documentation for precise information about the unit in question.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb’s Role In Popular Music.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb has played a significant role in shaping the sound of popular music across various genres. Its unique and lush reverb sound became a hallmark of many iconic recordings. Here are some examples of its use in popular music:

  1. The Beatles:
    • The Beatles used the EMT 140 Plate Reverb extensively in their recordings. The reverb is particularly noticeable on tracks like “Revolution,” where it adds a sense of depth and space to the guitar and drums, and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” creating an otherworldly atmosphere.
  2. Pink Floyd:
    • Pink Floyd’s innovative use of the EMT 140 is evident in their album “The Dark Side of the Moon.” The track “Money” features a distinctive cash register sound treated with EMT 140 Plate Reverb, creating a sonic element that became synonymous with the song.
  3. Elvis Presley:
    • Elvis Presley’s classic recording of “Heartbreak Hotel” features the EMT 140 Plate Reverb on the vocals. This usage contributed to the song’s haunting and timeless quality.
  4. U2:
    • The band U2, known for their expansive soundscapes, used the EMT 140 Plate Reverb on many of their recordings. Songs like “With or Without You” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” showcase the EMT 140’s ability to create a sense of space and grandeur.
  5. David Bowie:
    • David Bowie’s producer Brian Eno frequently used the EMT 140 Plate Reverb on Bowie’s albums, such as “Heroes.” It played a role in shaping the distinct sonic palette of these recordings.
  6. The Beach Boys:
    • The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and “Smile” albums utilized the EMT 140 Plate Reverb to create ethereal and dreamy vocal harmonies. The reverb was integral to achieving the band’s lush and timeless sound.
  7. Led Zeppelin:
    • Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” features the EMT 140 Plate Reverb on the drums, resulting in the thunderous and cavernous drum sound that became a classic in rock music.
  8. Motown Records:
    • Motown Records, the iconic record label, used the EMT 140 Plate Reverb on numerous recordings by artists like The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations. It added a sense of space and depth to the soulful and dynamic Motown sound.
  9. Classic Country Music:
    • The EMT 140 Plate Reverb was a staple in Nashville’s recording studios and contributed to the signature sound of classic country music. It was used on recordings by Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and many others.

The EMT 140 Plate Reverb’s warm, smooth, and timeless reverb sound has made it a sought-after effect in the recording industry. Its influence on the sound of popular music is undeniable, and it continues to be cherished by artists, engineers, and producers as a tool to add depth, character, and a touch of vintage elegance to recordings.

Where To Find An EMT 140 Plate Reverb.

Finding a vintage EMT 140 Plate Reverb unit can be a challenging task, as they are considered collector’s items and are in limited supply. However, if you’re interested in acquiring one, here are some potential sources and methods to explore:

  1. Vintage Audio Equipment Retailers:
    • Specialized vintage audio equipment retailers or stores may occasionally have EMT 140 units for sale. Check with established retailers that focus on vintage audio gear.
  2. Online Marketplaces:
    • Online platforms like eBay, Reverb, and Craigslist can occasionally feature listings for vintage EMT 140 Plate Reverbs. Be sure to research the sellers and verify the condition and authenticity of the unit.
  3. Auctions and Estate Sales:
    • Estate sales, auctions, or liquidation sales of recording studios and audio facilities might offer vintage EMT 140 units. Keep an eye on local listings or industry-specific auction houses.
  4. Audio Forums and Communities:
    • Online forums and communities for audio professionals and vintage gear enthusiasts can be valuable sources of information and opportunities to buy vintage equipment. Participate in discussions and inquire about available units.
  5. Vintage Gear Brokers:
    • Some specialized vintage gear brokers or brokers who deal in pro audio equipment may be able to assist in locating and acquiring an EMT 140.
  6. Recording Studios and Professionals:
    • In rare cases, recording studios or audio professionals who have vintage gear may be willing to part with an EMT 140 Plate Reverb. Networking within the industry can help uncover such opportunities.
  7. Restoration and Refurbishment Services:
    • Consider working with vintage audio equipment restoration specialists. They may be able to locate EMT 140 units, restore them to working condition, and provide you with a reliable piece of equipment.
  8. International Sources:
    • Be open to sourcing the unit from international sellers, as vintage audio gear might be available in different parts of the world.

When considering the purchase of a vintage EMT 140 Plate Reverb, it’s important to keep a few key points in mind:

  • Condition: Assess the condition of the unit, including the plate itself and the electronics. Make sure it has been well-maintained or restored as needed.
  • Authenticity: Verify the authenticity of the unit, as there might be replicas or copies on the market.
  • Price and Value: Vintage gear can be expensive, so be prepared for the costs associated with acquiring and potentially restoring the unit.
  • Testing: If possible, test the unit before finalizing the purchase to ensure it functions as expected.
  • History and Documentation: Inquire about the unit’s history, including its provenance and maintenance records.

Keep in mind that the availability of EMT 140 Plate Reverbs is limited, and it may require patience and persistence to find one that suits your needs.


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